Saturday, June 12, 2010

Strange Title for Dog Attack Article

Rejected police dog bites, critically injures Midvale officer's toddler

Talk about a misleading title. Does it not make you think the dog has a history of biting or aggression? Or that he failed because he attacked the wrong people? That's the impression I get.

Turns out the dog has a degenerative eye condition. I wonder if this played a role in the attack.

The dog is a Belgian Malinois. He was being trained to detect narcotics and replace another dog. When it was discovered he had a medical condition, the officer had an option to keep him as a pet. Otherwise the dog would be sent back to California and, check it, the company that sold him would kill him. Nice. The officer chose to keep him as a pet.

Now, here is where it gets tragic. The dog has been with the family for one week. This is a dog in an entirely new environment AND with a medical condition that may affect his vision. He's put in a home with a small child, probably not something he is at all used to. In a really, really bad move, the child is left alone in the backyard with the dog.

For whatever reason, the dog began to attack the child. It took several minutes for the mother to pry the dog off of her son's head. The dog was incredibly focused on the attack. He did not harm the mom or attempt to bite anyone else.

There is a chance the toddler will die.

If you want a manual for what not to do with a brand-new dog - this would one of many cautionary tales that could be included.

A new dog placed in a new environment with people he is unfamiliar with and left alone with a child. This has nothing to do with his "rejected" status as a police dog and everything to do with responsible and safe care of a dog. When a small, physically sensitive, inquisitive toddler is around a brand-new dog, you have to go above and beyond "safe" and into "anal retentive". A toddler is no match for a dog.

I really hope the toddler pulls through. These stories are always so heart-breaking because they are so preventable.


Pibble said...

Why is it that so often handlers of police dogs are the least trained of all?

I hope the toddler recovers. I have a feeling the officer thought he was saving the dog's life by adopting him. What a horrible situation.

Jennie said...

That's really sad. I actually remember the story about the dog he was "replacing" - Koda - which was terrible. People don't realize that many Police dogs are highly strung, tightly wound, very sensitive animals - I can certainly understand that an office who had worked with one for years would probably place a certain level of instinctive trust in one, but I can't fathom leaving a toddler alone with any dog. I hope the kid is okay.

David said...

I had to learn the hard way that dogs and kids aren't necessarily a good combination. Fortunately it wasn't as hard as what happened in this post.
So many people wrongly think dogs and kids go to together. I had a wonderful border collie that I left alone with my toddler nephew years ago.
Fortunately we were in hearing distance. I don't know what the kid did to the dog, but the dog never trusted kids after that. I had to watch her like a hawk around children.
She was a great dog though and it was a mistake I'll never make again.